Earlier this week, the second-ever College Football Playoff was filled with the top four teams in the country. After months of debate and speculation, the 12 members of selection committee released their final four teams to play in the semifinals on New Year’s Eve.
Heisman finalist Deshaun Watson and the No. 1 ranked Clemson Tigers will play Heisman snub Baker Mayfield and his No. 4 Oklahoma Sooners in the Orange Bowl. No. 2 Alabama will take on Big Ten champion Michigan State, who jumped over Oklahoma in the final rankings for the No. 3 spot.
Going into last weekend, there were a few different possible scenarios that could send the selection committee into frenzy. One of the biggest question marks was the red hot North Carolina Tar Heels meeting Clemson in the ACC championship. If UNC could have pull off the upset, would they be in? Or would that loss open the door for a Stanford or Ohio State? Luckily for the committee, Clemson sealed their spot in the playoff with a 45-37 victory.
After Big 12’s controversy surrounding last year’s playoff, Oklahoma will be the first team to represent the conference. The Sooners did not have a championship game to play. Michigan State did, which is part of the reason the Spartans jumped Oklahoma in the rankings.
Personally, I think the selection committee did a great job with the selection of these four teams. These picks also set two clear precedents for the future of the playoff. Your strength of schedule matters, (looking at you, Ohio State).
North Carolina’s chances of making the top four, even with a win over Clemson, would be seriously hindered by their scheduling of two FCS teams. The second precedent set was just as obvious: if a team with one or two losses makes the playoff, they must lose early in the season. Alabama’s early loss to Ole Miss and Oklahoma’s early loss to Texas are clear examples.
One can only hope that one day we will finally get the eight-team playoff the world has always wanted. Unfortunately, that day is still far away. For what its worth, I believe Mayfield shows the country why he should be a Heisman finalist and leads the Sooners past Clemson. In the other playoff, Alabama avenges last year’s semifinal loss to a Big Ten team on the back of Derrick Henry.
Connor Donahue is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.